Videocraft recently sold their first F65 camera to Peter Beeh, the Sydney-based cinematographer who specialises in commercial, aerial, documentary and factual programming.
Beeh said, “I have had a long time interest in the development of high end tools for digital cinematography. Traditionally the price point for such tools has meant there was near zero likelihood that buying the highest end cameras would be a viable business proposition for independent owners. Developments in the market and rapid advances in technology have completely changed this landscape in the past few years.”
Beeh, a long-standing Videocraft client, approached NSW State Manager Andy Liell to discuss the F65 after having debated the camera with several industry colleagues.
Beeh continued, “When Sony announced the F65’s price point I realised that it could be viable for an independent owner. After much research and analysis of original footage I weighed up all its strengths and weaknesses and that’s when I called Andy (Liell) at Videocraft for his professional opinion.”
Liell and Beeh discussed the many creative possibilities that an F65 would bring the cinematographer. Liell also liaised closely with Sony to ensure all of Beeh’s technical requirements would be met.
Beeh added, “I’ve had a long relationship with Videocraft and have relied on them heavily in the past for supply and support. In the case of the F65 I asked Andy 15 million annoying little questions – as all overly particular cinematographers such as myself would. Andy was very patient, essentially assisting me in determining detailed specifics about the product, in order that I could assess whether it would suit my needs. Beyond that, as a professional operator, I rely on ongoing support after an initial sale. This is an absolute prerequisite to professional sales in my opinion and Videocraft provide this kind of support better than most.”
According to Beeh Videocraft’s close relationship with Sony and their high levels of service and support were a big part in his decision to buy the F65. The supplier client relationship is something he also feels underpins a successful industry.
Beeh added, “It goes beyond service and support. It’s also about relationship. Sure I’m a good customer and that helps buy more goodwill. But sometimes, if there is a situation where I can return a favour, I’m happy to. I think this sort of two-way relationship is really valuable in our industry. For example, sometimes something goes wrong where it’s no one’s fault but my own, or I might need some one off something to get out of a bind. While Videocraft has no obligation to help me out, I know that if they can help, they will. That’s also reassuring.”
Since taking delivery of his F65 Beeh has used the camera with excellent results.
He added, “So far I have used the camera on several TVCs. It’s performed admirably and hasn’t skipped a beat. I’ve also used it to shoot background plates for an overseas production and we’ve shot some fashion. Lots of need for good skin tones and in particular the need to accurately reproduce colour in garments. We’ve done a whole series of lifestyle type shots for another project. Everything you can imagine. Indoor moody, to outdoor sunny, to dusk lantern light. To make shots like this sing it’s essential to have tools with wonderful dynamic range and an ability to perform brilliantly in very, very low light. The F65 does all of the above and more.”
Beeh also took time to reflect on aspects of the F65’s workflow that were particularly appealing and why commenting, “What Sony does really well is to make robust systems that go from camera to post to finished master. The F65 is the only blue chip digital camera which at the flick of a switch offers 4K RAW recording, or high quality 10-bit HD recording. All this with a frame rates ranging from 1 to 60 fps and the ability to go to 120 fps soon. To Sony’s credit they have also been very active in supporting the development of post production software and systems in order to make the system as user friendly as possible.”
Beeh, like many of Australia’s cinematographers, has a busy and varied workload. In amongst the many shoots he has now completed with his new Sony F65 he pointed out exactly why it was such a special camera and why he was so happy with his choice to purchase it.
Beeh concluded, “What I feel when I look at the pictures I’m making is that I see images that are taking another step away from looking ‘electronic’. This camera has an amazing ability to resolve subtlety in colour. I see nuances in colour that I’ve never seen before. Reds and all its related shades are wonderful, and those all important skin tones are beautiful. The mechanical shutter is a corker. It completely resolves any issues with rolling shutter artifacts. The resolution is a major selling point for the camera. Put images of the F65 on a test chart and you’ll find no other camera can come anywhere close to resolving the same number of lines. The F65’s sensor also generates very little noise for a device that carries something like 18 million pixels – the noise that is there is very, very fine. So, I confess, I’m now a 4K convert. As part of the mechanical shutter assembly Sony has been able to throw in a bunch of ND filters as well. I love this. Most modern cameras are very sensitive to light and heavy amounts of ND in front of the lens has presented its challenges with digital sensors. Now, when I’m shooting outdoors we can roll in three, four, five or six stops of ND at the push of a button. Such a time saver and it’s all IR corrected. It’s safe to say that I’m delighted with the Sony F65 and Videocraft’s sales, service and support.”